Overseas owners’ register leaves no hiding place for ‘criminals and corrupt elites”

ST HELIER: Most of Jersey’s offshore companies declared ultimate owners of UK properties Photo credit: Man vyi

ALMOST 13,000 offshore companies which hold UK property have not declared their ultimate owners.

They now face fines and a ban on selling their land, the government said, as Martin Callanan, minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, commended the new register listing the overseas owners of UK properties.

This was “invaluable” for tax and revenue services, Callanan declared, as it brought transparency to opaque offshore trusts.

Nevertheless, as only 19,510 of 32,440 registered overseas organisations have disclosed the identities of their beneficial owners, this indicates that 12,930 did not.

Roughly 75 per cent of those registering their ultimate owners are based in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Luxembourg.

Callanan said that Companies House and the Insolvency Service would receive more investigatory powers, along with approximately £20 million (€23,632 million) to spend on dealing with money laundering via companies that own UK property.

Callanan warned there was no hiding place for “criminals and corrupt elites” now that the January 31 deadline for registering had passed.

“We will be using all the tools at our disposal, including fines and restrictions, to crack down on foreign companies who have not complied,” he said.

Unregistered overseas companies are now automatically rejected from registering ownership of new land by HM Land Registry, while UK buyers cannot transfer their title to the deed of any property acquired from non-compliant organisations.

“If you ignored warnings and failed to register before the deadline, you will face consequences,” Louise Smyth, CEO of Companies House, said.


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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.